Remember that feeling when you were young and ready to discover the world? Well, it didn’t take that long to realise that it wouldn’t be as easy as thought. Some of us might have succeeded and some of us are still trying. Wale is the first film from director Barnaby Blackburn. With this newest short movie, Blackburn made his directional debut a breath-taking thriller with an excellent story and captivating acting performances.
Sometimes life isn’t fair at all and 18 year old Wale (Raphel Famotibe) had to find that out in the most horrible way by serving time at Aylesbury, the young offenders’ institution. Now he’s finally out and again living with his mum trying to get his life way on the rail. With a lot of passion and technical skills, Wale is selling himself as a mobile mechanic to repair cars in no time. However, starting an enterprise isn’t so easy when you’re a young and a black male with a criminal past.
You should never give up because one day everything will fall into place. That’s exactly what Wale thought when a fancy businessman O’Brian (Jamie Sives) wants him to repair his car. Their meeting will change Wale’s life more than he could ever imagine. He’s finally making money with his first job and driving around in his dream car. Sadly, his dark past catches up to him when Wale finds an awful and terrible present in the back of the car…
Without spoiling it, we can say that we would have loved to see a full-length feature film of this. It has every aspect in it to become something much more than just a short film. First of all, it’s the flawless balanced story. In a thriller and action film, both the suspense part as well as the action can be too much due to it either becoming dull, laughable or miss his point completely. Well, that’s absolutely not the case when it comes to Wale. The suspense is being created from the moment Wale meets O’Brian and the tension rises and rises and it never becomes predictable. We didn’t see that ending coming and neither will you. Yes, there are some high-speed cars involved as well as fights and blood but the action will never take over from the story. It comes as a surprise that this is also the very first film from Blackburn.
When watching the film, we didn’t understand why leading actor Raphel Famotibe hasn’t got his very well deserved acting breakthrough yet. He shone in television series such as Casualty and Millie Inbetween and soon we will be able to see him in Possum, another thriller film with a blood horror side to it. If his performance is as good as this one, then he will be amazing in Possum as well. Famotibe is captivating, emotional, fascinating and incredibly human with his acting as the young delinquent who wants to make a life of his own, despite it not being easy. Jamie Sives (Hard Sun, Wild Rose) is thrilling, mysterious and enigmatic as O’Brian, the man with the dark and shady past. Behind O’Brian’s fancy house and multi-million dollar car lies an obscure and hidden secret. One that literally should have been buried.
The short film has been screened at recent film festivals such as the Bend Film Festival in Oregon and at the Bronzelens in Atlanta during the summer and in the UK, the movie will hit the big screen during the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York. You should definitely watch it in the cinema because of the suspense of the sensational story, the astonishing performance of the cast and the electrifying musical score from Luis Almau.
Liselotte Vanophem, Film and Celebrity Reporter – Just Celebrity Magazine